The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style

Fill Sukkot’s traditional dish with intricately spiced shawarma.
The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style

Give the traditional stuffed peppers a streetwise spin in your sukkah. Amy Kritzer/JW

6 peppers

1 hr

3 hrs

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This is the next installment in our series The Remix, in which we seek to gently rework the more challenging dishes in the Jewish culinary canon. With a little bit of love, we’re convinced we can make any dish delicious, even ones that seem a bit bizarre to the modern palate.

Sukkot is the holiday that lets home cooks have a little fun. It doesn’t have mandated foods like the Chanukah latke, or the hamentaschen of Purim. The most widely known tradition — stuffed foods, for a year stuffed with good things — is a broad category, perfect for playing with. You can get as traditional or as funky as you like. We say yes to both. I’ve taken the classic stuffed peppers and, inspired by a recent trip to Israel, remixed the dish with a street food spin.

There, I was lucky enough to connect with the local foodie community and got an insider tour of the famous Jerusalem shuk, or market. I sampled tahini, halva, gooey rugelach and a lunch of some of the best hummus I’ve ever had.

Just when I didn’t think I could take another bite, we passed a crowd of locals on a side street. We got closer, and realized they were in a kind of queue, more like a scrum, for a shwarma cart. At only five shekels, I suddenly had room for a few more bites. I pushed my way to the front, and, thanks to my friend’s Hebrew, I was able to secure a stuffed pita in no time. Before me stretched seemingly endless spread of toppings, and I chose them all. Red cabbage? Yes. Pickles? Sure. Tahini? Definitely. The pita was hot and fresh from the oven. The spice on the chicken was complex; the meat was impossibly tender. I topped it with cooling Israeli salad and plenty of hot sauce. I didn’t need dinner that night.

These stuffed peppers have all the flavors of that delicious shwarma, but can be made at home. You may want to double the chicken recipe and save some for sandwiches. 

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, Texas. She blogs at What Jew Wanna Eat.

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For shawarma marinade:

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. paprika

½ tsp. allspice

½ tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. sumac

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. cardamom

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. cracked black pepper

For filling:

1 pound chicken, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

1 cup dried bulgur

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

½ white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 plum tomatoes (about ¼ cup), diced

¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 tbsp. tahini paste

Juice from 1 lemon

¾ -1 cup chicken broth

6 large bell peppers

For tahini sauce:

¼ cup tahini paste

2 tbsp. olive oil

Juice from 1 lemon

¼ tsp. salt or to taste

Garnishes: pickles, red cabbage, beets, parsley etc

  1. The night before cooking, coat chicken in olive oil in a medium bowl. Toss the marinade spices together in a separate medium bowl. Then toss chicken in spices. Cover bowl and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. You can also make your bulgur the night before. Bring two cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup bulgur, remove from heat and cover. Let bulgur absorb water for 20 minutes. Then drain off any remaining water and fluff with a fork.
  3. The next day, bring chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Heat a large sauté pan or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat. Then add diced onion, garlic, tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt and sauté while stirring until onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and bring heat to medium high heat. Sauté chicken (in batches if necessary; don’t overcrowd the pan) until cooked through and brown on the outside. Do not overcook.
  6. Combine bulgur, chicken and onion mixture in a large bowl. Make sure to scrape up all those tasty flavor bits from the pan and add those too!
  7. Add 1 tablespoon tahini paste, juice from 1 lemon, and enough chicken broth just to moisten everything. Adjust with salt to taste.
  8. Cut off the tops of the peppers and discard. Scrape out any seeds and veins inside. Scoop the filling evenly amongst the 6 peppers and place the peppers in a baking pan. Bake for 1 hour or until peppers are tender.
  9. While peppers are cooking, make tahini sauce by whisking together tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
  10. Let cooked peppers sit for 10 minutes before eating. Serve warm with tahini sauce and garnishes of your choice!
  • The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
    The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
  • The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
    The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
  • The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
    The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
  • The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
    The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
  • The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
    The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
  • The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
    The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style